As we near the end of the 2010s, for my final look back at the decade in comics, I’m going to be looking at the best comic runs of the 2010s. This decade had some of the best and worst comic series, but I’m here to celebrate the best runs. The 2010s had a lot of good runs that were somewhat unappreciated, that I feel deserve acknowledgement. This is the decade that I got into comics, so I followed a lot of these when they were ongoing. Yet, there is enough distance from most of these runs — most of which are complete — that I feel comfortable judging them as a whole.
For comic runs, the amount of creators and issues varies, but the general idea should be obvious — a bunch of comics where at least one creator has a big presence in the creative process. To qualify for this list, the run needs to have had most of its issues released in the 2010s. That means Grant Morrison’s Batman and Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, both of which started in the mid-2000s but ended in the 2010s, are out, but Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four, which started in 2009 and ended in the 2010s, is allowed on. Essentially, the runs will have started in the 2010s, with a small handful of exceptions that had very few issues in the previous decade. The key part of it is that this is “runs” as opposed to a series — I’ll be copying a bit of CBR’s rules and say that miniseries do not count as “runs”, unless it’s a group of miniseries in some way; this is for the the best runs on a comic, not sprints. But it can be one ongoing series, something that had multiple series, or just a specific chunk of a series for whatever reason (maybe the creative team lost the artist or something). To keep things manageable, I’ll be focusing on writers and pencillers — not that inkers, colourists and letterers aren’t important, but it’s hard enough to get every artist down for some runs, and I’ll probably miss some, that this is just the compromise I have to make.
Anyway, with all the rules out of the way, let’s get on with it. Here, arbitrarily ranked, are the best comic runs of the 2010s!
Over the course of the last week, Marvel revealed the creative teams and rosters behind its “ResurrXion” relaunch. And yes, it is seriously called that. For those not in the know, it’s essentially a big, line-wide relaunch of both the X-Men and Inhuman comics, and is said to be a result of the ending of the currently ongoing Inhumans vs X-Men event, which is basically the final payoff to the incredibly unsubtle allegory that is the Inhumans’ Terrigen Mists (the catalyst for Inhumans getting their powers) killing off mutants. Get it? Because people know Marvel is essentially turning the Inhumans into discount mutants? It’s so clever, right? Yeah, no it isn’t, and even fans of the new Inhumans aren’t fond of the particular story thread (it doesn’t help that their characters come off as passive idiots). So anyway, yeah, this is gonna be the big relaunch for both franchises, and so far the titles look… incredibly weak. In fact, the X-line looks weaker than it currently does, where at least Old Man Logan and All-New Wolverine are enjoyable. Here are my thoughts on the announced titles and creative teams so far, split into two series at a time because this post got way too big.
Written by Al Ewing
Art by Jonboy Meyers
This series will focus on the Inhuman Royal Family (Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal and Gorgon), NuHumans Flint and Swain, and Marvel Boy (a Kree super soldier from an alternate universe). They’ll leave Earth to find out about the origin of Terrigen (which they probably should’ve gotten around to once they realised it kills mutants), and probably get into some other hijinks.
This comic is probably the one that makes the most sense. While I was fond of one or two of the “NuHumans” (people who lived ordinary lives until the Terrigen cloud awakened their dormant Inhuman gene), the Inhumans have always been best when embracing their main characters’ morally ambiguity, political intrigue, sci-fi trappings and much weirder lore. Things like the Inhumans taking place in intergalactic wars, or the seemingly eternal feud between Black Bolt and Maximus the Mad. Royals looks to return the Inhumans to their space faring, and also looks to further explore their place in Marvel’s Cosmic side. The actual intrigue concerning the Terrigen Mists, however, is problematic. See, within Jonathan Hickmans ‘’excellent’’ run on ‘’Fantastic Four’’, it was revealed that there are numerous “Inhumans”, all of whom use a different catalyst for their transformations. It’;s just a random element. I can see Al Ewing ignoring this, which is sad, since I thought the Universal Inhumans were a cool idea that didn’t need this complication (though the fact that this mutant-Terrigen thing is a blatant retcon doesn’t help).
The cast is okay for the most part. I don’t think Medusa is nearly as interesting as Marvel wants her to be, but Black Bolt is always a treat. Crystal is fun when writers embrace her status as Medusa’s wayward sister, and I’m interested if her relationship with Ronan will be brought up (they were married and were forced to separate by Black Bolt’s treaty with the Kree). Gordon is just the typical nasty drill sergeant for Inhumans, and the attempt to give him depth via him being paraplegic fell flat for me. Swain and Flint are boring and easily the least interesting of the NuHumans, and I don’t know why Ewing felt the need to include them. Marvel Boy… exists. All I know about him is that he was a clueless idiot in Dark Avengers,a pointless guest star in Wolverine, a hipster in Young Avengers (like everyone Kieron Gillen writes these days) and… yep, that’s it.
I have mixed feelings about the creative team. I just haven’t ever liked anything by Al Ewing. His stories are sorta interesting sometimes, but he really overwrites his dialogue, drags out his stories, and likes to use really boring characters. I found his Mighty Avengers stuff to be boring at best, and his Ultimates basically ruined Galactus and reads like he’s trying really hard to be Jonathan Hickman and failing. Jonboy Meyers is an artist I have limited exposure to, but I enjoy his work on the current Teen Titans series, but the man cannot draw the tips of feet to save his life. His work is always energetic and fun, with a very cartoony feel, which I’m not sure will work for the seriousness of the Royal Family.
I’ve got mixed feeling about the series, but I can at least see why it’s a good idea for it to be published, given people have been clamouring for more old school Inhuman stories, and it will tie-in to Marvel’s Inhuman TV show. While I’m not sure about the creative team and a particular plot thread, I can see Royals being an okay read for Inhuman fans.
Secret Warriors Written by Matthew Rosenberg
Art by Javier Garron
This comic will feature Daisy Johnson, Kamala Khan, Karnak, Moon Girl and Inferno fighting some clandestine threat while the Royal Family is off in space.
I just don’t get this. It has little to nothing to do with the original Secret Warriors by Jonathan Hickman (I just realised how his stuff is being dragged through the mud these days), and fans of that series mostly do not like the MCU-ified Daisy Johnson (I, personally, just call her Skye). It just seems to exist for the sake of keeping that name alive after Agents of Shield used it.
The roster is the most random assortment of heroes I’ve ever seen. Daisy Johnson, assuming she’s still written as she was before AoS, is a grim and gritty super spy who’s seen some stuff and is basically a grizzled veteran without the age. Ms. Marvel is a more traditional superhero who really believes in the Superman-esque ideals (community, traditional heroics, etc.). Karnak is an interesting character, and his ability to “see the flaw in all things” has been explored in interesting ways, but he’s just a weird character more suited to artsy solo ongoings by more experimental writers. Heck, Al Ewing could probably do a good job writing him, and he is a member of the Royal Family, one who still has an ongoing (that’s late), so I have no clue why he’s here. I didn’t read Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur past the first issue, but it seems to be a fun, pretty mnuch not superhero adventure. And Inferno is… a guy. He’s a more modern superhero character who’s had this power thrust upon him but has a family to protect (his sister and her baby, who has already been exposed to Terrigen). It’s just a group that doesn’t have a consistent tone between them. Plus, it breaks the rule that Marvel currently has that a character can only be on one team at a time, since Ms. Marvel is in Champions… in fact, the team was her idea.Rosenberg has promised some additions that aren’t Inhumans, but I’m not even sure this series will last long enough to get new members.
I know next to nothing about this creative team. I enjoyed Matthew Rosenberg’s Kingpin miniseries (what I read of it), but this series seems far removed from what that one was. I’m not at all familiar with Javier Garron’s work (he apparently did some Star-Lord work). As an aside, whoever did that cover is a dummy; why is Skye wearing wedges? Characters who fly and the like, I get them wearing heels and wedges, but why the spy? And is that shit regulation SHIELD? Just… why?
So yeah, I really don’t care about Secret Warriors; the criteria for the cast seems to be “popular Inhumans”. There’s just nothing here for me, and it seems to be a case of using popular brands for the sake of it.